The 2014 power units comprise six separate elements, of which five of each are available to each driver per season before they are penalised. Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat became the first man to incur a penalty when he used a sixth Renault engine at the last round in Singapore, and over half the field have now used five of at least one element.
“Reliability will start to play a major role in results at this point in the season since every team and driver has had to mix and match as we have learnt more on the operation of the power unit,” said Remi Taffin, head of track operations at Renault Sport F1, ahead of this weekend’s 2014 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix.
“We are however fairly at ease on this front since we have committed ourselves to introduce a sixth power unit where needed. The picture is a lot clearer now and although not exactly ideal to have to introduce new parts and take penalties, we can do this at races where the impact will be minimised.”
Taffin, who oversees power unit supply to Red Bull, Lotus, Toro Rosso and Caterham, added that we could even see teams run fewer miles in practice at Suzuka, in order to save engines for the rest of the year. However, he insisted that Renault are ready for the technically taxing Japanese circuit.
“Due to the strain on each part, we will, where possible, introduce new components for this race,” he commented. “We believe Suzuka will be a good challenge, but one that we are looking forward to with no worries.”
Red Bull have already resigned themselves to Sebastian Vettel incurring an engine penalty in 2014, the world champion having used five to date, as well as five turbochargers and MGU-Hs.